A little over a month ago, Facebook made a big announcement and everything went just a little insane.
This announcement was Facebook Zero, a new algorithm update that will take the trickle of declining organic reach and turn it into a near avalanche.
Businesses, brands, and marketers all panicked a bit, and rightfully so. That’s some big news.
Fortunately, good Facebook marketing will still get you some placements (even if they are significantly fewer than before).
Despite that, of course, a lot of marketers and small businesses are realizing that diversifying their marketing efforts is a better plan of attack than just sitting back and hoping Facebook will keep getting them the same results (or better).
Instagram is the perfect platform for this. Here’s why and how you can use it to fight Facebook Reachpocalypse.
I’ve long preached that a diversified approach to social media will yield better results than putting all your eggs in one basket.
As it turned out, I was right (at least about that), so in this post, we’re going to take a look at why Instagram should be your next go-to platform to compensate for Facebook Zero, along with specific strategies to help keep your overall social engagement and reach high.
What is Facebook Zero?
If you’ve somehow managed to escape the panic surrounding Facebook Zero, my hat is off to you. Seriously. Well done.
Facebook Zero was announced within the last month or so, and it’s the new algorithm change that Facebook has created in order to show users more of what they want to see (content from their actual friends) and less of what they don’t (primarily coming from Pages).
Organic reach has been slinking down for a few years, but this was promised to be more of a deep plunge than a slow slide.
People panicked, and it was about 90% justified. Yes, Facebook organic marketing is going to look a little different.
The continued declining reach may even mean that more businesses will be flocking to the ad system to get more views on their content, which could mean that ad costs go up a bit.
The good news is that if you’re still creating great content that people love, this shouldn’t be a complete doomsday for Pages just yet (though that could change in the future).
That being said, you also don’t want to rely on Facebook as your only marketing platform anymore.
I’m still using it for my clients as my “central social hub,” as this may be one of the first touch points for many customers, and where many more go to get information like hours of operation and reviews. You still can’t afford to ignore it, but you should be leaning a little more heavily on another platform.
That platform is Instagram.
Why Is Instagram the Go-To Platform Instead?
We still need Facebook for it’s pinned videos, in-depth posts, reviews, events, and more. There’s no denying that, but to be most effective in reaching our audience on a day-to-day, we need to set our sites on other platforms.
Instagram has consistently had exceptionally high engagement on average out of all social platforms. It also has different features, like hashtags, that provide extended reach even though users can’t share content from their favorite brands on their own platforms.
Users are also more interested in connecting with brands on Instagram than other platforms.
These are already good reasons, but if you have further doubt, let’s take a look at why other platforms shouldn’t be filling your Facebook-void:
- Twitter has less engagement overall, and it isn’t as suited to brand content.
- Pinterest doesn’t provide the same opportunity for brand building, sharing, and discussion generation.
- Snapchat is slowly dying thanks to Instagram.
Yep, I’m pretty secure with my reasoning on this one.
The boost of having Instagram Ads connected to Facebook’s Ad system is just the nail in the coffin of this reasoning, giving you an easy and effective way to grow your following with paid ads, whether you want to connect with an international audience or a local one.
How to Use Instagram to Compensate for Facebook Zero
So we know that we want to use Instagram to compensate for Facebook Zero and it’s declining reach (and thus engagement).
To do this, you’ll need to build your following on Instagram, identify how to continually improve your on-platform reach, and create high-engaging posts.
Let’s look at four strategies that break down how to do this while maximizing your results and minimizing Facebook losses.
Strategy #1 – Build Up Your Following
It doesn’t matter if you have 20,000 followers on Facebook (or a lot more, or less), and only 50 on Instagram; you need to build up your following on each platform you want to dominate.
And since Instagram’s audience is more willing to engage with business profiles and there are several ways to connect with new audience members, I’ve actually found it easier to build followings organically on Instagram than Facebook for a while now.
There are several strategies that you should use to build your following fast:
- Use well-researched, popular hashtags to expand the reach of your posts and put your content in front of relevant audience members. Using a mix of location-based hashtags, general appeal popular hashtags, and industry-specific hashtags are a good way to go.
You should aim to use at least eight hashtags on every Instagram post.
- Ask some of your Facebook followers to follow you on Instagram. Post a few times teasing exclusive information or discounts that are only available on Instagram. This can help send some of your Facebook fans over to Instagram if they haven’t gone already, and they’ll then see your content more often.
- Use Instagram Ads to connect with new audience members.
- Host a contest on Instagram to build your following quickly, offering a valuable and relevant prize along the way.
Strategy #2 – Use Instagram Posts to Send Users Back to Facebook
If you’re still using Facebook as what I call your “central hub” for social marketing, you can use Instagram to send more traffic to your Facebook Page.
Note that this isn’t quite as effective as building up on-platform engagement because users have to navigate to your Page on their own, but this can still make a difference.
Use high resolution, aesthetically interesting images or videos to grab user attention and then add a description that sends them back to your Page for more information.
I’ve done this with both contests or Facebook events with good results.
You can even change your Instagram bio link temporarily to this event link if it’s something you’re promoting heavily for a short time.
Strategy #3 – Put Out Regular Calls for UGC
User-generated content is exceptionally powerful. In addition to being persuasive and highly trusted by your other followers, it also gives you a huge and very needed advantage on Instagram.
Since Instagram doesn’t allow for sharing content the same way almost all other platforms do, you need to find other ways to leverage social proof and your current connections to reach new audience members.
Facebook, after all, will let a user’s friends and followers know if they liked or commented on a Page’s post; you don’t get that with Instagram. Because of this, getting users to create and post their own UGC while tagging your brand or using your branded hashtag is crucial.
This allows you to get your full potential out of your current connections while strengthening your relationship with them at the same time.
It also gives you more great content you can repost on your profile (always with permission!), so this is a win-win all around.
Strategy #4 – Repurpose Content
You can absolutely use images and videos that you’ve used on Instagram on Facebook, too.
You’ll want to adjust the posts instead of just reposting them outright (Facebook posts shouldn’t have hashtags, for example, but Instagram posts always should), but using the same images or videos with rehashed descriptions is a good way to go. This lets you get the most out of your content, saving you time and money.
One way to do this is to share your Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories, too, when you post them.
This feature is nearly identical on both platforms, so go ahead and get the most out of your content, saving your edited, decked out story to your camera roll and then uploading it to Facebook next. This will save you from having to create double content or editing the same video twice.
Facebook Zero will undoubtedly be a big change for businesses, and yes, marketing on Pages will be different moving forward.
Embracing Instagram fully as a primary platform to reach, connect with, and engage with your audience will allow you to stay in touch with them even in spite of new algorithms on different platforms.
Diversifying your marketing efforts will always lend great results as long as you’re consistently engaging with audiences on each platform regularly utilizing best practices, and this is no exception.
What do you think? Do you use Instagram as a primary marketing platform? How do you compensate for Facebook Zero and its declining reach? Do you use any of the Instagram strategies detailed above? Share your thoughts and knowledge in the comments below!